American Republics: Book summary and reviews of American Republics by Alan Taylor

American Republics

A Continental History of the United States, 1783-1850

by Alan Taylor

American Republics by Alan Taylor X
American Republics by Alan Taylor
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Book Summary

From a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, the powerful story of a fragile nation as it expands across a contested continent.

In this beautifully written history of America's formative period, a preeminent historian upends the traditional story of a young nation confidently marching to its continent-spanning destiny. The newly constituted United States actually emerged as a fragile, internally divided union of states contending still with European empires and other independent republics on the North American continent. Native peoples sought to defend their homelands from the flood of American settlers through strategic alliances with the other continental powers. The system of American slavery grew increasingly powerful and expansive, its vigorous internal trade in Black Americans separating parents and children, husbands and wives. Bitter party divisions pitted elites favoring strong government against those, like Andrew Jackson, espousing a democratic populism for white men. Violence was both routine and organized: the United States invaded Canada, Florida, Texas, and much of Mexico, and forcibly removed most of the Native peoples living east of the Mississippi. At the end of the period the United States, its conquered territory reaching the Pacific, remained internally divided, with sectional animosities over slavery growing more intense.

Taylor's elegant history of this tumultuous period offers indelible miniatures of key characters from Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Margaret Fuller. It captures the high-stakes political drama as Jackson and Adams, Clay, Calhoun, and Webster contend over slavery, the economy, Indian removal, and national expansion. A ground-level account of American industrialization conveys the everyday lives of factory workers and immigrant families. And the immersive narrative puts us on the streets of Port-au-Prince, Mexico City, Quebec, and the Cherokee capital, New Echota.

Absorbing and chilling, American Republics illuminates the continuities between our own social and political divisions and the events of this formative period.

35 illustrations

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] trenchant history of the fledgling U.S. ... [focused] on the growth of American territory and national power through diplomacy and wars ... This elegantly written and thoughtfully argued study shows how rickety and explosive the American project was from the start." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A history that speaks directly to the racial concerns of twenty-first-century Americans." - Booklist (starred review)

"Though the narrative lacks an overall argument and ends in an abrupt, somewhat jarring fashion, Taylor is always a consummate guide to the early republic. A fine new look at a critical period of American history." - Kirkus Reviews

"American Republics sweeps away rosy accounts of the rise of the United States. It is a searing history that exposes how white supremacy disfigured U.S. politics, underwrote westward expansion, and remade the lives of North America's diverse peoples. Incisive and powerful, it leaves a lasting impression." - Claudio Saunt, author of Unworthy Republic

"A tour de force rich in fascinating and diverse characters, strong Native nations, contested borders, historical ironies, and paths almost taken." - Kathleen DuVal, author of Independence Lost

"From one of America's greatest historians, American Republics is an engrossing introduction to the fragile, exclusionary epoch when the United States went transcontinental." - Brian DeLay, author of War of a Thousand Deserts

This information about American Republics shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Alan Taylor

Alan Taylor has twice won the Pulitzer Prize in History, most recently for The Internal Enemy, also a National Book Award finalist. He is Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor of History at University of Virginia, and lives in Charlottesville.

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